Former Illinois Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch, 86, passed away last night. She announced in January that she had been diagnosed with amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.
Netsch served in
the Illinois State Senate from 1972 to 1990, first representing the
13th District, then the 4th District. She was elected Illinois
Comptroller in 1990 and in 1994 was defeated in her bid for governor by
Jim Edgar. She was the first woman to win the Democratic nomination for
Netsch’s most recent position was serving on
the board for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a research and
advocacy group that promotes accountability and transparency in
"Dawn Clark Netsch was a strong advocate for education and a pioneer for equal rights for all people," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. "As the first woman elected to a statewide constitutional office in Illinois, Comptroller Netsch blazed a trail for women in public office.
"As an elected delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention in 1970, she spearheaded the movement to modernize our constitution. I witnessed firsthand her dedication to honest government when we served together as state treasurer and comptroller. Most importantly, Dawn was a straight shooter, and not just at playing pool. She always told the people of Illinois what they needed to know.
"Throughout her life, Dawn Clark Netsch taught us all about the right way to move forward in our democracy. We are all better off because of her purposeful life."